By John Vibes
In 1942, Executive order 9066 was passed by Franklin Roosevelt which called for the “relocation” of Japanese Americans living within the United States. It was this executive order which allowed the US government to keep tens of thousands of Japanese Americans in internment camps for the duration of the war.
These Internment camps were eerily similar to those used in Germany by the Nazis, although the Nazi camps were obviously more grotesque. The camps in America were still inhumane, and these details are many times left out of our history books. Americans were never on any kind of moral high ground during World War 2 and they aren’t in modern times either.
In the aftermath of the recent Paris attacks, and in light of the controversy involving immigrants and refugees, Roanoke Mayor, Democrat David Bowers, has actually called for a return of Roosevelt’s internment camp policies from World War 2.
“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,” Bowers wrote in a recent statement.
His comments sparked outrage, and quickly gained the attention of the national media.
Actor and Internet favorite George Takei responded to the statement on his popular Facebook page, saying:
Mayor Bowers, there are a few key points of history you seem to have missed. The internment (not a “sequester”) was not of Japanese ‘foreign nationals,’ but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.
The ACLU of Virginia also condemned the comments in a statement, saying that,
The government’s denial of liberty and freedom to over 100,000 individuals of Japanese descent — many of whom were citizens or legal residents and half of whom were children — is a dark stain on America’s history that Mayor Bowers should learn from rather than seek to emulate.
Sadly, it seems that especially after the Paris attacks, there has been a wave of fear and hostility towards immigrants and refugees, which could actually push people to accept implementation of internment camps. In fact, this is a very real possibility, even if the US government does accept refugees with open arms, they will likely be housed in detention centers while they are being processed, and many times the processing takes over a year. This is actually already occurring in the US for both refugees and immigrants.
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